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I’m scheduling this to go up later than this ungodly hour (7:49am). By the time you read this, Lori Lewis will be officially installed as our new pastor at Corydon Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Just so you know, it is NOT true that, the longer a church’s name is, the more snakes they handle.

Anyway, the search committee searched long and hard before they captured recommended Lori, and we’re all SO GLAD. She makes us all feel grounded and capable of continuing to serve the community.

W00t!

After the installation–and meal, of course–Mom and I are scheduled to rush over to Louisville for some kind of reception at the Kentucky Opera to kick off the season:

Cavalliera Rusticana/I Pagliacci
The Elixir of Love
Madame Butterfly

Mom and I are just shaking our heads–that damn dumb Cio-Cio San never seems to learn about men. Maybe counseling would help.

MA

writing prompt: Would your main character be sympathetic to a girl who fell for a heel, or scornful and rejecting?

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

Okay, today I was Deacon and Bob Gilewski was lector and I was jealous. It’s bound to be a sin to be jealous of somebody else’s job in church. Bound to be. The reason I was jealous is that he got to read a WHOLE CHAPTER of the book of Job. It was a good one, too: one where God gets all snotty and sarcastic on Job’s ass.

Job, see, had it all, and then God took it all away. According to the story, The Adversary goes, “Anybody can be holy when he has everything going for him. Take it away and see what happens.” So Job loses everything except his wife–which kind of hurts my feelings, by the way, speaking as a wife–and he doesn’t reject God but he sure wants to know what the hell is going on.

“I did everything a holy person was supposed to do, and I lost everything,” Job shouts at God. “Here are the rules, and I followed them, but you didn’t. Where do you get off breaking the rules? Come down here RIGHT THIS MINUTE and answer to me!”

And God shows up and goes, like, “Ex-CUUUSE me? You said what to who?” Then he asks a bunch of ironic questions, like, “Were you there when I created everything? Can you tell me the secrets of the universe–I guess you can, since you know everything.” I would totally get all Rosanne Barr on that reading, although I doubt I would spit and scratch indelicately instead of saying, “Here ends the first reading of the day.”

MA

writing prompt: Look at a Bible story and read it as if it were an actual fiction story that’s demonstrating characterization and moving a plot rather than A Holy Thing. Good stuff!

I was busy as a bird dog. I was busy as a one-armed paper-hanger. I was busy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.unsavorypast100209

Friday, Joanna Foreman, Ginny Fleming and I represented the Southern Indiana Writers at Corydon’s Unsavory Past. We had copies of our books GHOSTS: ON THE SQUARE…AND ELSEWHERE…. and THERE’S SOMETHING UNDER THE BED-TIME STORIES for sale. Joanna had her GHOSTS OF INTERSTATE 65 and I had my GIFT OF MURDER anthology. We mingled and schmoozed with the attendees, sold some books, learned some lessons about marketing and venues and had an all-around good time. Didn’t get home until after eleven. Thought I was going to turn into a pumpkin.

Saturday, Mom and I got up and went to the farmer’s market (nothing for me–we have green beans, potatoes and green tomatoes, and I still have the sweet potato and turnip I bought last week). Then we went to the art show, a retrospective of our late friend Violet Bruner Windell’s work. She was a fascinating and multi-talented person, and a good friend. We both miss her a lot.

As an additional treat, there was a Boer goat sale at the fairgrounds, and I took Mom to that. For some reason, she’s obsessed with goats. I said, “Okay, let’s go look at them, but let’s not smell them.” She said, “Too late.” Once we got to the building, she decided she’d rather stand outside and look in rather than walking in amongst the pens. The goats were all BMWAAAAAAAA! and ngngngngoat! BMAHHHHHHHH! and hoofing at the ground, nipping at each other and shaking their horns. I was like, “Oh, yeah–I sure want a couple of those in my yard….”

Then we came home and got some lunch, picked up Charlie and went to an organizational meeting in favor of “health insurance reform”. We were like, “Health INSURANCE reform?? What happened to health CARE reform? Where did that emphasis go?” Came home from that and had the evening off lalala.

So today I needed to drive Mom to her church (St. Peter’s Lutheran) because her regular ride wasn’t available to her today, then went to my own church, Corydon Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I won’t critique Marc’s sermon today because, if I did it every week, and if he knew I critiqued him every week, it might make him self-conscious and that wouldn’t be nice. He always has a challenging message, whether I agree with him or not.

Today is a free day again–lots of writing projects, but that’s my joy.

Good day today. I’m aching all down my back and both legs into my feet. I spend too much time in my head. Aching makes me aware of my presence in my body, my presence in the world. It makes me notice my physicality and the physical world around me, and that’s a very good thing.

MA

writing prompt: Describe the world around you RIGHT NOW.

Yes, it’s another post about church and stuff. Mixed bag, this week, with three–count ’em–THREE sermons and one Old Testament reading.

First, the sermons were all brilliant, about which more anon.

The Old Testament reading SUCKED ROTTEN BIRD EGGS. It was Proverbs 1:20-33, which we were to read responsively along with the pastor, and it was such a stinkeroo I stopped reading the congregation’s part–not that anybody noticed. They may have noticed my growling, “Baloney!” at the end, but nobody said so, so they probably didn’t. Here’s where it went south for me:

So I will laugh when you are in trouble. I will make fun when disaster strikes you, when disaster comes over you like a storm, when trouble strikes you like a whirlwind, when pain and trouble overwhelm you. Then you will call to me, but I will not answer. You will look for me, but you will not find me. It is because you rejected knowledge and did not choose to respect the Lord. You did not accept my advice, and rejected my correction. So you will get what you deserve; you will get what you planned for others.

This is supposed to be Wisdom speaking. Now, I’m asking: Does that sound like Wisdom to you–particularly God’s Wisdom? I don’t think so. It’s crap like that that makes me glad the Disciples of Christ focuses on the New Testament more than the Old. Here’s a multiple choice quiz, with answer key provided:

If Jesus of Nazareth (called by some The Christ) saw human suffering, even self-inflicted suffering, he would

  1. Weep, embrace the suffering, take it on himself, speak words of repentance and love and invite the sufferer to healing (yes)
  2. Laugh, point at the sufferer and sing, “Na-na-na-boo-boo! You’re sittin’ in poo-poo!” (no)

So, anyway, I was not best pleased with today’s Old Testament scripture reading.

The sermon at our church, by Marc Wessels, our interim minister, was super! It was about taking up your cross to follow Jesus. He recommended two books, Imitation of Christ and In His Steps (a novel). I think we have a copy of Imitation of Christ around here somewhere *rummage, rummage*. If not, I’m going to look for it. Anyway, the sermon was about dying to yourself–thinking about others, considering the effects before you speak or act instead of saying or doing whatever you feel like, following Jesus’ example in your everyday life, not just coming to church and then taking nothing back into the world with you. There was a lot more to it, but I can’t reprint it all. An excellent sermon.

Then I went to St. Paul’s AME homecoming picnic at the park (took my macaroni salad, naturally). Again naturally, I got there just in time for them to take up offering. Never fails. I think pastors see me coming through the door and tell the ushers to grab a plate. Anyway, after the offering, the pastor spoke on The Parable of The Prodigal Son. She spoke to the problems of BOTH sons–the one who wanted everything NOW, before he had the wisdom and experience to use it well, and the one who was bitter and jealous because their father forgave the bad one who humbled himself and repented. She said, “We ought not to be jealous about what somebody else has, because what God has for me is mine and what God has for my brother is my brother’s.” Again, there was more to it than I can copy down.

The third sermon was by a man who was at the picnic, who stood up and opened his bible and had at it. This man has refurbished The Silver Dollar Saloon down on the creek and turned it into a church. He spoke on the subject of St. Paul. He free-associated on the subject of St. Paul, is what he did. You never heard such a collection of disjointed nonsequiturs, variations on a theme and ramblings around a subject in your life. I was fascinated. I just sat there, like, “Dude…!” I was like, “Wow, if I were stoned, this would SO make sense!”

We had a great meal after, and my “Sister” Jewel and I broke into spontaneous song and did a verse of “The Old Rugged Cross” before I left.

Then I got home, and learned that our #2 daughter’s wicked chickens have been laying eggs in other places than their nests, so we only have four home-grown eggs this week. But I’m not bitter. I’m not angry. I don’t hope nobody feeds THEM. I rise above it. Mmmm-hmm.

MA

writing prompt: Pick out a sentence from a book or newspaper and have a character get all worked up about it, pro or con.

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I got home from church this morning, and guess who was here to greet me? Forrest. Yes, Forrest, the dog who knocked me down. He was tearing around at full speed, SO happy to be back! I got out my camera and waited for him to run up close but, when he did, Joe (the Noble Hound) got between us and growled and chased him away. We went to Charlie’s brother James’ for Easter and, when we got back, Forrest was gone. Don’t know if Joe chased him away or, more likely, Forrest’s people came and got him. They know where to look, now.

Church was very jolly, with lots of people there we haven’t seen for a while. Billy White came, which was great. Billy used to come when he was a young boy, and then he stopped, but he came back to visit this Sunday. He’s a great guy–a young adult, now, going to IUS. He’s always been into opera and all kinds of music, and that’s what he’s studying. I wish he would come back all the time so Sue and I would have somebody else to talk opera with, but I don’t really expect it.

We sing the best songs at Easter–In The Garden and He Arose, and we get to trash-talk the grim reaper: “Oh, Death, where is thy sting? Where thy victory, O Grave?” Like, “Yo–Death! Yeah, I’m talkin’ ta YOU! Whe’s yeh sting? Eh? Eh? Yeah, whe’s yeh sting? I GOT yeh sting, Death–I got yeh sting right heah. Oh, yeah? Got yeh homey Grave wit’ yeh, huh? Gotta have some backup, huh? Well, BRING IT!” heeeee!

No Easter basket–boo hoo for me. Just didn’t do it.

ME: I think this is the first time in my whole life the Easter Bunny didn’t come.

CHARLIE (apologetically): Things just slip up on me, and then they’re here and it’s too late.

ME: I chose not to put anything together.

CHARLIE: Yeah?

ME: Yeah. We don’t need all that crap.

CHARLIE: That’s right. We don’t.

ME: Besides, everything will be cheaper tomorrow.

Yeah, I’m a woman of principle. And not much capital.

MA

Writing prompt: What’s in YOUR character’s Easter basket?

This was SUPPOSED to go up yesterday, but I zigged when I should have zagged and saved it instead of publishing it. Bah.

We had two celebrations at church today, one dedicating a cross in the name of Sheila Bezy. Sheila passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at home earlier this year, and her former employer, his family and his other employees honored her by buying a brass altar cross for our church, to which none of them belong. It was a sweet and generous gift, but Sheila would not have been best pleased. I think she would have shook her head and said, “I don’t NEED a brass cross, but folks need food for their kids. Give the money to Community Services.” Still, it was truly a kind deed, and showed the strength of Sheila’s impact on people. She was always willing to step up and “speak truth to power”, but always with love and always with other people in mind, never her own ego.

The other friend was Daniel Suddarth, who has been our choir director for about eight years but is now leaving to dedicate more time to the church he and his family actually attend. He, and the dedicated folks of the choir, have given us some excellent and uplifting music over the years, including today, when the choir, in the absence of our organist, sang acapella.

We had a pitch-in lunch after church. Our interim minister is a vegetarian, so I made one of the vegetarian dishes I learned to make for the vegetarians in our family and like so much I make it for myself.

Mexican Casserole (Vegetarian version)

  • 6 small flour tortillas
  • 1/2 jar mild salsa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 package Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 1 can Ranch style black beans
  • 1 can vegetarian (fat free) refried beans
  • 4 Tbs butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin

Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour and spices and stir until the spices are toasted. Add broth and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add beans and salsa. Grease a casserole dish. Tear up 3 of the tortillas and spread the pieces on the bottom of the casserole. Layer with half the bean mixture and half the cheese. Tear the other 3 tortillas up and scatter them over the cheese, then finish with the rest of the bean mixture and the rest of the cheese. Sprinkle with green onions, if you like. Cover and bake for about half and hour, uncover and bake for another fifteen minutes. Or you can cook it in a slow cooker (crock pot).

After the lunch, I came home and we had a birthday party for me, my husband and one of our sons-in-law. Tomorrow I’ll tell you what I got. It was a full day, and it’s time to sign off.

MA

Writing exercise: Do your characters go to church? If not, why not? If so, where do they go? If you’re having trouble getting a handle on one of them, go to church with him/her; what does he/she look at, think about, like or dislike about the building, sermon, pastor, music, dogma/doctrine, fellow parishioners?

WELCOME TO MY BLAHG

Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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